Qatar: Stable Business Conditions in Non-Energy Sector in December

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Doha, Qatar: The non-energy private sector in Qatar demonstrated resilient and stable business conditions in December 2023, according to the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey data released by the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). The survey, which compiles responses from around 450 private sector companies spanning manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail, and services sectors, provides valuable insights into the state of Qatar’s non-energy economy.

In December, key indicators such as output, new business, and backlogs of work remained largely stable compared to November, reflecting a consistent level of activity. Employment growth was sustained, contributing to the overall positive sentiment in the non-energy private sector. Notably, the 12-month business outlook remained optimistic, indicating a positive trajectory for the coming year.

Financial services emerged as a significant driver of growth, maintaining its momentum at the close of 2023. Despite a slight dip in the PMI from 51.5 in November to 49.8 in December, the figure remained close to the neutral mark of 50.0, signaling broadly stable business conditions. Financial services, in particular, continued to expand, contributing to the overall growth of the non-energy sector.

Price pressures remained subdued, and supply chains continued to improve, alleviating concerns related to inflation and disruptions in the production process. The Qatar PMI, which serves as a composite indicator of non-energy private sector performance, trended at 52.4 across 2023, aligning closely with the solid long-term average since 2017 (52.3).

Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, Chief Executive Officer of QFC Authority, commented on the data, stating, “The final PMI data for 2023 signalled stable business conditions for Qatari non-energy firms, completing a year of solid economic expansion.” He highlighted the resilience of the financial services sector and the positive indicators for manufacturing, emphasizing the consistent rise in employment and wages.

Despite the slight dip in the PMI from the previous month, the overall business outlook for the year ahead remained positive. Al Jaida noted, “The business outlook for the year ahead remains positive, although unsurprisingly optimism has softened somewhat compared with the peak seen in the aftermath of the World Cup.”

Breaking down the components of the headline figure, sectors such as manufacturing and financial services exhibited comparatively strong new business, contributing to the stability in overall volumes. Employment continued its upward trajectory for the tenth consecutive month, reflecting confidence in the non-energy sector’s growth.

As the non-energy economy concludes 2023 on a stable note, Qatari firms are poised for positive expectations in 2024, anticipating continued growth. While optimism has softened compared to peak levels, the overall sentiment suggests a resilient and expanding non-energy private sector in Qatar.

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